Brian Lee Crowley

Why the CPP expansion will not solve the problems advocates claim

In my most recent column for the Globe’s Report on Business, I took to task the advocates of an expanded CPP for their failure to explain exactly what the problem is their proposal is intended to solve. Can’t be to help low-income seniors, because the CPP isn’t aimed at them. That’s what OAS/GIS is for. Can’t be to solve a generalised problem of low savings rates by the middle class, because there is no evidence it exists. In fact the data show that Canada’ retirement system works quite well. If there is a problem, it is a narrow one involving a small subset of the middle class, so why is a universal expansion of the CPP the right course to follow. This column caused quite a stir in the Twittersphere before the fed-prov talks broke up with no agreement on CPP expansion.

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Does Retirement Have a Future in Canada?

Thanks to Jack Mintz of the University of Calgary School of Public Policy I have been invited to be on a panel at a major national conference on the theme of The Future of Canada’s Retirement Income System to be held in Calgary on April 12th and 13th.

My panel will be called What are the problems with the existing system? The main speaker will be Larry Kotlikoff (Boston University), and I will be joined as commentator by Joanne  DeLaurantiis (Investment Funds Institute of Canada). Here is how the conference programme describes the panel’s focus:

The research undertaken for the federal-provincial-territorial Ministers of Finance found that the retirement income system does well in support low income Canadians but there is a minority of middle class who may not have adequate retirement income.  What are the reasons for possible underfunding of retirement income for this group and how significant is the issue?


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Brian Lee Crowley
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